New Delhi: The first Cabinet meeting on Thursday, a day after a massive reshuffle, announced an emergency Covid response package of Rs 23,123 crore and a Rs 1 lakh crore infrastructure fund to revamp the mandi system, a wholesale market mechanism.
The man of the moment, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, told a press conference, after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi, that the package will help make provisions for ICU beds, medicines and other medical supplies.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, in turn said the mandi system is not to be abolished; this was reiterated by the Cabinet on Thursday which has decided to reinforce it with a Rs 1-lakh infrastructure fund.
This fund was provided in the Union Budget and intended to cater to loans and interest waivers of farmers selling their produces through these wholesale markets. The fund will enable the mandis to acquire more resources to make the farmers Atmanirbhar (self-dependent).
Mandaviya said the response package has many components:
-- Creating paediatric units in all 736 districts; adding 20,000 ICU beds in public healthcare system out of which 20% will be paediatric ICU beds;
-- Pre-fabricated structures with 6-20 bed units proposed and bigger field hospitals with 50-100 beds;
-- Installation of 1,050 numbers of Liquid Medical Oxygen Storage Tanks with Medical Gas Pipeline System, with an aim to support at least one such unit per district.
-- Augmenting the existing feet of ambulances - 8,800 ambulances will be added under the package;
-- Engaging undergraduate and post graduate medical interns and final year MMBS, BSc, & GNM nursing students for effective COVID management.